My research program has four main tracks. First, I’m interested in how children’s literature plays a shaping role in adult-associated projects like psychology and philosophy. With Fordham University Press I recently published a book on children’s literature, philosophy, and that strange thing we call theory, called Theory for Beginners, or Children’s Literature as Critical Thought. It’s a sequel of sorts to my second book Freud in Oz: At the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children’s Culture (U of Minnesota P, 2011), about the mutualities of children’s literature and psychoanalysis.
A second interest is gender and sexuality in and around children’s literature. My first book Making American Boys: Boyology and the Feral Tale (U of Minnesota P, 2004), explores literary and cultural programs of “boyology” in relation to stories of boys raised by various animals (what I call the “feral tale”), and I have also coedited two essay collections dealing with queer childhood and/or children’s literature: with Michelle Ann Abate, Over the Rainbow: Queer Children’s and Young Adult Literature (U of Michigan P, 2011), and with Derritt Mason, Queer as Camp: Essays in Summer, Style, and Sexuality (Fordham UP, 2019).
I’m also curious about the literary capital and material circulation of children’s literature. I’ve published pieces on prizing, classics, archive studies, and anti-censorship work, and with Joseph T. Thomas, Jr., I coedited Prizing Children’s Literature: The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards (Routledge, 2017).
Finally, I have been teaching a course on Florida children’s literature, which rekindled my interest in environmentalism, both Florida-specific and more generally. With my amazing colleague UF English Sidney I. Dobrin I did coedit Wild Things: Children’s Culture and Ecocriticism (Wayne State UP, 2004). I’m hoping to do more work on Florida children’s literature, looking not only at environmental issues but also Florida’s complicated and vexing history of settler colonialism, indigenous exploitation, land development, and ongoing migration from both within and beyond U.S. national borders.